Modifying my Arcade1Up Part Five – A quick fix

A small update while I’m waiting for the rest of my parts…

After getting the controls up and running with the RetroPie and Arcade1Up cabinet I’ve spent quite a few hours “testing” games and seeing how it all holds up at this stage. And for the most part I’ve been pretty happy. I even got Robotron working with two joysticks… thank you MAME custom settings! 🙂

It was during this time that I started noticing issues with the player one joystick not always working in the down direction. Further investigation using the jstest tool from RetroPie’s command line confirmed something was seriously wrong as down wasn’t always registering. A lot of things could have been the cause here including:

  • The USB controller board might have been faulty,
  • The cable from controller board to the joystick had faulty connections,
  • The controller board driver in the RetroPie had issues,
  • The joystick was somehow broken.
Looks like a joystick, sounds like a broken axle.

When I first purchased them the joysticks had suffered a few bumps during their time in the mail and I noticed the connector pins on one had been bent enough they required straightening. I was concerned early on that any internal connections to those pins may have been broken as a result.

Turned out though the problem was a little more obvious: one of the microswitches was faulty. You could tell when moving down that the click for the down movement was not as solid as it was for the other directions. The joysticks I ordered online were constructed in a way where I couldn’t remove the faulty component (something you can apparently do with more expensive models) so I was back to eBay again ordering a full replacement.

Easy to use but difficult (for me) to repair.

Thanks to the randomness of importing from overseas I received the replacement joystick before I got the rest of the parts to finish off the speakers. A quick swap of player one and the joystick and it’s back working again. I will say that I am using cheap joysticks here as part of my “project”. Sanwa brand sticks are considered the best of the best but are double the price and may require a little more skill in wiring up which is a skill I still need to learn.

I think my success in doing this diagnosis and repair will help convince me to invest in better hardware next time which in turn I can hopefully learn to maintain. 🙂

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